Luxury Retail and Budget Groceries: A Surprising Connection

elegant woman with shopping bags looking on Eiffel tower, Paris

In a startling revelation, our latest PFM data analysis shows that shoppers frequently visiting high-end retail locations in Paris have a striking preference for affordable grocery shopping.

Discovering the trend

At PFM, we put much effort into testing and validating our data insights. With a population of over 11 million in the Greater Paris area, the City of Light provides an incredible dataset capable of delivering in-depth shopper insights.

Using PFM's Smart Location Data, we simulated shopper interactions with high-end designer stores and looked at the other places these shoppers visited. In this particular case, instead of focusing on transport hubs, tourist attractions or retail parks, we explored the connection with food retail locations.

The results were fascinating. Although these high-end shoppers chose to spend their hard-earned cash on premium fashion brands, they showed a remarkable preference for affordable food brands such as Franprix, Auchan and Lidl.

Franprix, with over 300 stores in the Paris area alone, stood out and led the race for the convenience store shopper. Auchan, a major retailer across Europe, came second, followed by Lidl, the low-cost favourite from Germany.

Our Smart Location Data, obtained from smartphone apps without breaching GDPR legislation, combined with accurate footfall data from our Footfall Index, can provide valuable insights into consumer journeys and predict footfall at remote locations.

Delving into the 'why'

In exploring why shoppers might prefer affordable grocery stores while indulging in high-end fashion outlets, we identified several factors at play:

The 'deal-seeker' mentality:
Designer Outlet Villages use terms such as 'unmissable savings' in their marketing and promotional material to attract the attention of those looking for a bargain. It is likely that this type of shopper has a higher propensity to seek out special offers that offer greater value for money. This could be related to their affinity with low-cost grocery stores, which often offer the same brands and similar quality as the high-end stores, but at a lower price point.

Socio-economic factors:
High-end fashion locations are often in affluent areas where consumers have a higher disposable income or regions easily accessible to this socio-economic group. These consumers may prioritise luxury and fashion, leading them to shop in these upmarket locations. On the other hand, affordable grocery store locations tend to be more accessible and affordable, attracting a broader range of consumers, including those who prioritise practicality and value for money.

Lifestyle and personal preferences:
Shoppers may have different preferences and priorities regarding various aspects of their lives. While some individuals may be willing to spend more on fashionable clothing to reflect their personal style or social status, they may prefer to save money on daily necessities such as food. This preference could be influenced by factors such as their values, affordability constraints or overall lifestyle choices. We used the PFM Smart Data to look at the socio-economic factors that mapped the origin of the shopper's journey to these locations and found that people visiting these two locations spent above the national average in categories such as:

  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Restaurants & Leisure
  • Clothing & Fashion
  • Communications
  • Education
  • Household goods, energy and fuel

Convenience and daily needs:
The geographical distribution of high-end fashion and affordable grocery stores significantly impacts shopper behaviour. Luxury fashion outlets, often located in urban areas or shopping districts, attract shoppers with the allure of convenience, exclusive brands and an abundant shopping experience. Conversely, affordable grocery stores strategically located in residential or densely populated areas offer practicality, accessibility and affordability, effectively meeting regular, essential shopping needs. Auchan is a prime example of an easily accessible, larger out-of-town store. Consumers may prioritise these locations because of their competitive prices, wide product range and convenience. In addition, the overall shopping experience or status symbol associated with grocery shopping may be less of a concern, as the focus is on efficiently acquiring essential items

Corroborating evidence

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A study by McKinsey & Company supports our findings. It reported an 18 percentage point increase in high-income earners intending to save money on food purchases by 2022. At the same time, the study reported a 16 percentage point decline in the intention of high-income earners to buy premium food products.

The chart above shows the top 5 affinitive brands in both budget and premium categories. More than half of the visitors in our data set have an affinity with a budget grocery store, while only a fifth prefer premium grocery stores. These findings suggest that, despite their affinity for high-end designer fashion, almost three times as many visitors to the sampled high-end designer outlets prioritise savings in everyday grocery shopping.

At PFM, our goal is to help organisations unlock the full potential of their locations by using data insights to make informed decisions. The unexpected affinity of high-end shoppers for affordable groceries demonstrates that consumer behaviour often defies stereotypes and requires nuanced, data-driven strategies to understand and harness.

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